INDIA 2012:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, INDIA

We are ruled by dacoits… the British were better’

Freedom Fighters Rue State Of The Nation

Sunitha Rao R | TNN

They have seen India extricate herself from the clutches of the British to turn into a progressive republic. They have lived the freedom struggle and every moment of the nation’s 65 years of Independence. For GenNext, their struggle would seem like a fairy tale. On the eve of Independence Day, TOI sought their views on freedom and India.

     Pandit Sudhakar Chaturvedi, 118

     Ask him who got us freedom, and he answers quizzically: “MK Gandhi, Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose, Bhagat Singh? Veer Savarkar? British themselves? Extremism or ahimsa? None of them, India got freedom because of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, who created fear in the British empire.”

      Pandit Sudhakar Chaturvedi, an enigmatic freedom fighter and living legend of the city, was known as the ‘critical insider’ within the Congress. Despite being associated closely with the Mahatma, he questioned Gandhi’s principle of ahimsa.
On August 15, 1947, Chaturvedi was in Delhi with Gandhi, Nehru and others. “It was an eventful and exciting day. However bad the politics is now, it is good we got freedom then. It was good for both Indians and British,” he recalls.
At 118, Chaturvedi is glad he is fit. “I can hear, read and walk,” he chuckles. He has not accepted the pension given to freedom fighters, happy in his Jayanagar residence.

     NV Krishnamachari, 96

     “We might term the British ‘firangis’ or ‘white men’, but they ruled us based on laws. They did their job on the directions of the East India Company. But what principles do today’s politicians have? Hardly any. We fought to get a nation to be ruled by Indians based on truth, ahimsa, human values. Sometimes, I feel we should not have got freedom at all. The British did not trouble the public as much as our elected politicians do now. I cry to myself when I look at our pathetic world,” says NV Krishnamachari.

     He was in Bangalore central jail the day India got independence. “We were sent out saying we were released. We had no clue we’d got Independence,” he recalls.
Krishnamachari has named his sons Jayaprakash Narayan, Babu Rajendra Prasad, Balagangadhar Tilak, Lokamanya, and his daughters Jhansi Rani and Lakshmi Bai.
He is fit, he has no BP or diabetes, though his hearing capability is diminishing. He lives in KG Nagar, South Bangalore.

     Annadanaiah Puranika, 85

      When the entire country rejoiced on August 15, 1947, a 19-year-old freedom fighter and his friends were in tears at Osmania University in Hyderabad. “Hyderabad hadn’t got freedom and we had no security under the Nizams. Those who hoisted the Indian flag in Hyderabad were arrested. We fled to Gadag andHubli, and fought the Razaks and Nizams from here. I discontinued my studies. Thanks to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Hyderabad won freedom on September 17, 1948,” recollects Annadanaiah Puranika.

       “I had written to the governor two years ago on how the government can make use of our experience. I have not got any response,” he told TOI. Puranika, who worked as an advocate for 30 years in the Karnataka high court, says corrupt politicians should be socially boycotted. He lives in Jayanagar with his daughter. Barring occasional knee pain, he is fit as a fiddle.

     HS Doreswamy, 94

      This veteran freedom fighter is an active participant in social activism even today. Be it the protest for the appointment of the Lokayukta or implementation of the Lokpal bill, Doreswamy is at Freedom Park with his firm notions. He has termed the anti-corruption protests of Anna Hazare as the “second freedom struggle” of the nation and actively participated in India Against Corruption movements.

TNN THE MEN WHO GAVE IT THEIR ALL

Sudhakar Chaturvedi NV Krishnamachari
Annadanaiah
HS Doreswamy

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